Hard Rock: The Skivvies Strip Down the Covers and the Clothes
Billed at the musical duo The Skivvies, Molina (the cello-playing Johanna in Sweeney Todd) and Cearley (a road-warrior from the national tour of All Shook Up) have spent the last year publicly stripping to their, you know, skivvies, then performing mashups of classic songs by artists like Carole King and Fleetwood Mac with Top 100 favorites like Eminem and Rihanna. When you strip away their tongue-in-cheek exterior, The Skivvies are some seriously talented artists. Their arrangements showcase both their rock-solid harmonies and musical sense of humor, playfully incorporating instruments like Molina’s cello, Cearley’s ukulele, a glockenspiel, melodic (sometimes played simultaneously with the glockenspiel), a rain stick (which accompanies an “Umbrella”/”Singing in the Rain” mashup), and various guitars and hand drums.
But almost as impressive as their musical savvy is their ability to convince Tony Award winners and Broadway headliners to get almost-naked and sing songs with them everywhere from YouTube (where Smash‘s Wesley Taylor joined them for their hit cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend”) to New York venues like The Cutting Room and Joe’s Pub.
Molina and Cearley recently released their first Skivvies single, “Hardbody Hoedown,” which they call “an x-rated parody megamedley comprised of several body part-related songs.” (It is probably the dirtiest song you will ever hear. But it’s also funny and ingenious.) In celebration of the release, The Skivvies performed at The Cutting Room, where they were accompanied by guest performances including onesie-clad/Tony Award winner Laura Benanti (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), who sang a mashup titled “A Bootylicious Freak Like Me”; Wesley Taylor (The Addams Family), Emily Bergl (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Joseph Morales (In the Heights), Adam Kantor (Rent), and the leather thong stylings of Mitchell Jarvis (Rock of Ages) and saxophonist Andy Gutauskas, who served up Wham!’s “Careless Whisper.”
The gig was a follow-up to The Skivvies’ fanatically lauded debut at Joe’s Pub in summer 2012, where they performed with stripped down Broadway guest stars like Tony nominee Will Swenson (Pricilla Queen of the Desert), who gave the audience some cheetah print thong action during his cover of Lil Jon’s “Get Low”, Susan Blackwell ([title of show]), who brought “full ‘jammie realness” during her mashup of Good Day Sunshine/Burgundy Shoes, and Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins), who seductively sang to her signature umbrella for a stripped down rendition of Rihanna’s “Umbrella.”
With their skillful arrangements, ability to sing pretty much anything (she’s a lyric soprano with a pop belt, he’s a tenor who can convincingly rock out both hip-hop and Elvis), and flat-out brilliant approach to turning lowbrow smut into highbrow musical wit, The Skivvies are more than just a gimmick. They’re a legitimately great cross-genre band to watch.
Seriously. Their next show is January 28 at the Highline Ballroom. Come fully clothed.